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New Yorkers longing for Malaysian cooking have always tended to head to one of the Penang restaurants out in Flushing or in Manhattan's Chinatown. When I lived in New York, the various Penangs never seemed quite up to the level of my favorite Los Angeles Malaysian restaurants, but Penang always had great roti canai: delicately crisp flour pancakes as large as crumpled handkerchiefs, served with a small bowl of coconut-scented chicken curry tinted a deep rust color with chile oil. And the roti canai at the first West Coast location of Penang are really very good. After you finish the roti, a bowl of the herbal pork-rib soup called bah kut teh, and maybe a plate of crunchy fried purple eggplant or a dish of the Chinese water spinach kangkong fried with a fistful of the smelly, fermented shrimp paste belacan, you can have another order of pancakes, this time stuffed with ground peanuts and hot syrup for dessert. Are there mediocre dishes at Penang? A few of them: sliced chicken sauteed with mangoes and a violent-red sweet-and-sour sauce; soggy, egg-filled roti telur; a flat basil chicken. But anything on the menu marked by the word sambal, referring to a highly spiced chile paste, is bound to be pretty good. The service is authentically Malaysian, which is to say that the waiters appear at the table at erratic intervals and will let you order four versions of the same dish without comment, but will still make you love them by the end of the meal.

Restaurant Details

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Features: , , , , , ,

Price: $$
Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa

Parking: Lot Available


Reservations: Not Necessary

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